Sputnik: What can you say about the lessons that the world learned from the US-led Iraqi invasion, I’m not sure maybe they didn’t learn the lessons, but what lessons could’ve been learned?
Bamo Nouri: I think one of the most important things to learn is that foreign occupation should never be allowed again, especially occupation by such a distant occupier who holds orientalist views and ultimately looks at the subject nation with huge elements of orientalism, with huge elements of misrepresentation, racism and all sorts of other dirty kind of viewpoints, and also the major lesson is that imperialism, the age of imperialism is ultimately at an end and ultimately shock therapy, which was used in Iraq in 2003, will not work to make nations conform and adhere to the rule of the imperial nation.
That’s ultimately what Iraq was an example of, that it’s no longer the case where nations like the US can use initiatives as democracy promotion and bringing liberation to go and invade and occupy because it simply does not work. If anything it gave birth to an undesired effect that was not even foreseeable at the time, what you've seen with ISIS and the region in turmoil for the near future.
Sputnik: Can you talk about some of the consequences, the political, humanitarian, economic, the overall consequences for the region?
Bamo Nouri: So first of all, from the minute that the US went into Iraq they already specifically had a number of people they wanted to run the country, although, the US went to Iraq in the name of democracy, they wanted to personally select leaders in Iraq. From the minute they made this decision in the Iraqi government and council in 2003 people started to protest in Baghdad.
Those protests ultimately then became ISIS [Daesh], because people in Iraq felt marginalized and subjugated to a system that they didn’t believe in. This is at a time when many Iraqis had seen their families killed, so many innocent civilians had passed before their eyes, and they’re not going to accept this kind of situation. When you talk about the casualties in terms of the war, in 1991 that was a total of 350, approximately, bombs dropped in the first Gulf war.
In 2003 the US was dropping around 380 bombs a day and it was specifically targeting infrastructure and numerous other areas of key spots.
This was in line with shock therapy and in line with shock therapists, where the idea was that if we shock this nation so badly that it will accept any given fate and that given fate was an intended free market, free flowing capitalist state that would be dominated by the US corporations. Very, very similar to what you see in the UAE and numerous other advanced countries that support these kind of markets, but it didn’t work and the consequences were that to justify the war, not just the Iraq war but even the war, beforehand, the United States had to use this rhetoric of orientalism of these views that “these guys are backwards, they're evil,” they put the rhetoric into the world’s mind, into the worlds tongue, into the world language that it’s “us vs. them.”
That rhetoric has stayed to this day that innocent people around the world are still mis-educated and misperceiving this whole situation to the point that we're still seeing suicide attacks all over the world now, everybody has a different backwards and an inaccurate opinion of Muslims or anybody who's of any kind of different culture.
Racism has taken off and you've seen what ISIS[Daesh] did to the Middle East, we've seen millions upon millions of people die and the reports, I’m afraid are inaccurate, some of the reports of the casualties there are very, very inaccurate.
Sputnik: Up to 4 million people were reportedly displaced in and outside of Iraq, an average of about 100 of civilians were killed a day, and a great number of people, of the population was living in poverty?
Bamo Nouri: If you look at some of the cultural heritage it was, unfortunately, exposed to looters and thieves and also to bombs; so what wasn't destroyed it was stolen and ravaged, and, of course, there are economic consequences as well. The US wanted to open the country up to foreign investors, so they kind of took apart the state on factories and then the IMF came in with economic reforms, of course, ending fuel, food and health subsidies.
If you look at the chain, it started with the de-Baathification processes and cutting the subsidies to a lot of public institutions, so ultimately 70% of Iraqis were unemployed. At the same time public services were starting to fail, so people were becoming malnourished, without food etc…
The whole infrastructure was bombed, but what the solution, given by the US at the time, was let's bring foreign corporations in, let's rewrite this public, social system and constitution. There was no need to rewrite the constitution, they brought the idea to rewrite it simply to get rid of the constitution of 1971 that outlawed any foreign person owning land in Iraq, they changed the constitution; completely destroyed Iraqi society.
The views expressed in this article are solely those of Bamo Nouri and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Sputnik.